Moments In Time: Formula Drift Texas by Larry Chen

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You Speedhunters out there can get a pretty good idea of what actually happened at Formula Drift Texas from watching the live stream, or afterwards on demand. However, there is only so much you can experience unless you’re actually there on the ground. Here are 50 moments in time that I captured from the ‘One More Time Fest’ in Texas.

Above: Due to the 10 OMT battles, Formula Drift Texas had the longest Top 16 in the history of the series. Although it did provide for some epic battles, including Ken Gushi chasing down ‘Fast Kenny’ Moen.

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Tandem donuts never looked so good. Fredric told me he thinks the drivers have grown up a bit as they have stopped doing so many donuts during the Top 16 introductions. The reason? They want to save their cars for the competition.

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Mad Mike checks under the hood of his RADBUL Miata as it’s loaded onto a trailer after an incident with the wall.

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Chris Forsberg and mechanic Brian Wilkerson cross their fingers while they wait in line for a late-season technical inspection.

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Kristaps Bluss made it into the Top 16 for the first time during what’s been a tough rookie season.

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Formula Drift Pro2 still has quite a long way to go, but I can see the field improving round by round.

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After photographing Ken Gushi’s team changing tires, I returned to my shooting location to find Fredric Aasbø sitting on the ground in his race suit waiting to watch the final battle. Like a kid at his first drift event.

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While I liked the new drift layout at Texas Motor Speedway, the tire smoke lingered around and caused a bit of problem. Sometimes you could barely see the cars through the smoke.

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You really don’t get a sense of how large this venue is, as the main oval dwarfs the inside road course.

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Final drive. Who would have known that this event would be Vaughn’s last with this particular Ford Mustang.

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Ever since Mad Mike rejoined the grid, Kyle Mohan is no longer the lone rotor-head.

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Vaughn reflecting on his performance this season. It’s been a rough ride for both him and Justin Pawlak.

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Time and space no longer matter – Charles Ng is drifting at the speed of light.

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Late-season weigh-ins ensured all the cars had not lost any weight going into the final rounds of the championship.

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You know you’re doing something right when your tire smoke looks like storm clouds.

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Dave Briggs could not catch a break this season. There’s always next year though.

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No more ‘Gentleman, start your engines’, there are now two female drivers competing in Formula Drift.

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From the first time we met many years ago, Daijiro Yoshihara has always made the best funny faces.

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Everyone initiates their drift slightly different. Some prefer to do it with just a tiny jab of the e-brake.

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Always the happy camper, Mad Mike has managed to make the Top 16 at every round he has competed in this year.

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Nameless Performance has been competing in stage rally for a while now, and they’re applying what they’ve learned on gravel roads to drifting.

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Mathematically, Chris Forsberg is out of the championship running, but he is the only driver with two Formula Drift Pro titles under his belt competing the full season.

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Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s crew look closely at data as they try to figure out why the Mustang was misfiring during practice.

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If I don’t find little bits of rubber in my camera after the event I am doing something wrong.

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The heat is on before qualifying, but it’s the perfect time for the crew to sit back and relax for a moment.

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Mike Kojima coaching Daijiro on what he needs to do to achieve a perfect qualifying run.

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Dai has had a few tough seasons since his championship win in 2011, but he finished this event in the Top 8, which is a personal best in the BRZ.

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Vaughn did not know it at this point, but he was about to have one of the toughest days of his drifting career.

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Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Ryan Tuerck’s backfiring monster shoots out flames like a rocket ship.

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As Conrad Grunewald put it, 19-year-old Alec Hohnadell is the future of drifting and a champion in the making.

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While the stands built in the infield are fairly large, they’re nothing compared to the 180,000 capacity of Texas Motor Speedway’s permanent perimeter seating.

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When in Texas, hide under some shade. An umbrella does just fine.

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At the beginning of the season it looked like Odi Bakchis had the championship within reach. With his Top 32 exit in Texas, he is now out of the running.

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I’ve seen some bad crashes in drifting, but this was one of the worst. Luckily for Vaughn he walked away unscathed.

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Fredric Aasbø more or less locked down the Formula Drift Pro Championship with his Top 8 finish. Going into the Irwindale final he holds an 80-point lead over 2nd place.

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The return of Mad Mike was also the return of Scott from SPD and Mickey Andrade.

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Even though the battles went well into the night, the majority of fans stayed right till the end.

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After so many OMT battles, Ken Gushi was exhausted. By the end of the night he was running on adrenaline only.

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Masashi Yokoi seems to be getting more and more comfortable driving against his opponents in Formula Drift.

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Forrest Wang swapped in a drag-spec motor after qualifying on the night before the main event, which really increased his speed. It also sounded like no 2JZ I’ve ever heard before.

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Out of all the tandem battles from the weekend, Matt Coffman had the closest follow run on this section of the course.

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Of course, that meant he had to sacrifice his line, which gave Speedhunters driver Charles Ng the advantage.

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It’s always tough to work in the Texas summer as the heat just beats down on you. I lost count of how many bottles of water I drank during the week.

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The crowd always goes nuts when the Kiwi comes out to play.

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The were more spectators at the Texas round than I’ve ever seen here before, although it was still the lowest attendance for the Formula Drift season.

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The battle of the 2JZ-powered Scions. After a hard-fought series of tandems, Ken Gushi advanced.

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Mad Mike laid down epic smoke clouds as he battled his way into the Top 16.

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We’ve seen it before, but it takes a while for Daigo Saito to get a car dialed in properly. His R35 GT-R is getting better and better every round.

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Team owner Kenji Sumino congratulates Ken Gushi on his excellent performance.

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Yokoi wins his first ever Formula Drift Pro championship round. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time we see him standing on the top step of the podium…

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
[email protected]

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